There are a lot of really interesting and fun things to do in Astoria, Oregon. But to be honest, one of my favorite parts of visiting this north coast city is to see the huge freighters sail by in the background.
A charming hillside city in Oregon’s northwestern corner, Astoria was established as a fur trading post in 1811, taking its name from business mogul John Jacob Astor (although he never visited!). Astoria is the seat of Clatsop County, named for the Clatsop Indians, and is the oldest American city west of the Rocky Mountains. While today’s population is just over 10,000, a century ago Astoria was the second most populous city in Oregon! Situated just inland from the mouth of the Columbia River, Astoria is a short drive to Oregon beach towns Seaside and Gearheart and an even shorter drive to the historical Peter Iredale shipwreck on the beach at Fort Stevens State Park. Serving as an epic passageway from Oregon to Washington state is the majestic Astoria-Megler Bridge.
As for the town itself, there’s plenty to see and do : the downtown area is walk-able and awash with shopping, art galleries, coffee shops, unique restaurants and a riverfront trolley as well as the Oregon Film Museum. Fans of the 1985 cult hit The Goonies can head to the eastern residential end of Astoria and see for themselves (from the outside, at least) the house where the movie was filmed. Kindergarten Cop, the first two of the Free Willy trilogy, and The Ring Two are further examples of Hollywood’s invasion of Astoria. Beer enthusiasts will also find a number of microbreweries.
Astoria is also home to the Columbia River Maritime Museum as well as the Capain George Flavel House Museum. Located 5 miles southwest is Fort Clatsop, a former winter encampment of the Lewis and Clark Expedition turned national memorial.
Astoria is located approximately 2 hours from Portland via U.S. Route 30 or the coastal U.S. Route 101. The city also houses the Port of Astoria, welcoming cruise ships and deep draft vessels in addition to regulating regional maritime activities.